In the book 1984, there is a scene where Big Brother announced one day that chocolate rations would be reduced from 30 grams to 20 grams per week, but 24 hours later announces that it was actually increased to 20 grams and the people celebrated in thanks to Big Brother. Here is an excerpt of what Winston recalls at this moment.
Was it possible that they could swallow that, after only twenty-four hours? Yes, they swallowed it. Parsons swallowed it easily, with the stupidity of an animal. The eyeless creature at the other table swallowed it fanatically, passionately, with a furious desire to track down, denounce, and vaporize anyone who should suggest that last week the ration had been thirty grammes. Syme, too-in some more complex way, involving doublethink, Syme swallowed it. Was [Winston], then, alone in the possession of a memory? (1984, Chapter 5)When I read this book back in high school, I really thought it was impossible for this to occur in real life, but today, I'm not so sure. Now in the wake of a fake news plague, it's becoming more and more difficult to determine what's real and what's fake. Now that the existence of fake news has itself become news, the fake news outlets have somehow successfully convinced millions that even many real news stories are fake.
The sad thing is, in many cases, it really isn't that difficult to do one or two minutes of research and determine if any one news article is real or fake. Yet, people are more willing to accept what they want to believe as truth, and rely on others to do the "research" for them.
I shouldn't blame the people getting deceived. After all, who really has time to do all this research? We've got day jobs and kids to watch over. We send representatives to Washington to take care of things for us so we don't have to.
But it burns me up that people on both sides of the aisle are intentionally creating fake news to deceive people. It doubly burns me up when those people include our President Trump, his advisor Conway, and his press secretary Spicer.
Shortly after Trump was declared the winner, Trump and his team declared it a landslide. Wait, weren't we all watching the same election? You know ... the one where Hillary got more votes? The one where Trump just barely got a win in each of five battleground states that pushed him over the 270 votes needed? The one where his 306 was less than the 332 Obama got in 2012? What exactly makes 2016 a landslide? Am I the only one in the possession of a memory?
Of course, it doesn't matter how big his victory was. He's president, and no one can change that fact. But it's not enough for Trump. He not only has to win, but he has to win big. So, just like Winston's job in the Ministry of Truth was to change historical facts to match what Big Brother wanted, Trump is now going on this huge witch hunt voter fraud investigation to find enough votes to put him over Hillary.
I care that Trump cares, and I'm concerned how far he'll go to change the facts. But other than that, I'm just annoyed that this is all being blown out of proportion.
Okay, now that the long introduction is over, let's get to what you all really want to see. Which picture of Trump's inauguration is true? Before I begin, let me just say this: yes, Trump had a lot of people at his ceremony. It was huge! If we were able to compare with all prior inaugurations, I think we would find that Trump had a relatively large audience. For any opponents to say otherwise is just silly and twisting the facts.
But also, Obama had many more participants at his ceremony in 2009. After all, he was the first non-white president. I would fully expect that specific day to attract more people. He really did have people going all the way back to the Washington Monument, while Trump did not.
Okay, first comes the picture that started it all. I'll go with the Reuters version, which I think is closest to the time Trump was sworn in (around 12:01), and it shows a few more people. Trump's inauguration is on the left, and Obama's is on the right. Doesn't look like Trump has that many attendees -- right?
Before I continue, let's study the so-called Trump picture. I zoomed in below. We'll pretend it is a real picture for now. Start at the top with the capital and work your way down. After the reflection pool, you can make out five chunks of crowd, marked in red below. Each of those chunks is a field (well that first one is one and a half). The last chunk ends right about at the big Smithsonian red castle building on the right. If you look at the marking in green, it outlines road barriers that barely touch the field. After that is a mostly empty field. Then the next field has all those white tents, and there is one more empty green field after that before we get to the Washington Monument.
In other words, if the Reuters picture is to be believed, Trump had two fields that were nearly empty, and one field had press tents, while Obama had all those fields filled with nothing but people.
Trump, however, experienced the view from the front. For this, I'll turn to one of the most awesome pictures I've ever seen in my life. The resolution in this picture is so great that when you zoom in, you can see amazing detail. If you haven't done so already, go to this link right now and prepare to be amazed:
I'll start off with an amazingly clear picture of Trump giving his speech. There is no way this picture is faked. Just click the picture to see it larger.
Here's one of my son's favorite zooms. 1000 Mel-o-rama points if you can find it!
Okay, let's take a look at the crowd as Trump would have seen it:
Impressive! Isn't it. It looks like it goes all the way back to the Washington Monument. Look at all those red hats! What a beautiful sight!
But wait a minute. Doesn't this picture contradict the Reuters photo? Does this mean that the first photo is fake? There's no way the CNN picture is fake. Perhaps Spicer was correct in threatening to take action against the media and hold them accountable for spreading false news.
Why don't we take a closer look? I'll zoom in past the reflecting pool, and let's see what there is to see. I invite you to expand this picture so you can see my markings, and also follow along on the CNN site.
Just like the Reuters' picture, I can see certain features here. I can see five chunks of audience marked in red (where the first chunk is one and a half fields). In green near the back, you can see the Smithsonian road barrier. And what are these areas I've circled in yellow? They are empty spaces! What?! Where did those come from? I invite you to zoom to all three areas on the CNN picture and check for yourself. You will then find that each of the empty spaces match the same empty spaces in the Reuters picture. The largest being the one in the very back. Let's zoom in as close as we can.
Adjusting for effects of perspective, that empty space in the back is easily one full field's length. Compare with the width of the last chunk of audience.
As far as I can tell, this awesome CNN picture corroborates 100% the Reuters picture. Unfortunately we can't see past the media tent in this picture, but why would anyone stand behind it when they could stand in the empty spaces in front?
It turns out the Reuters picture is real news and is entirely consistent with the awesome CNN picture.
Now, just like the hidden arrow in the FedEx logo, once it has been seen, it cannot be unseen.
Hopefully going forward, Trump will do the right thing and lay off the media. Let Trump do his own thing, and let the media do what they will, but please, LET'S HAVE THE TRUTH! It is beyond easy to see through most of Trump's lies and he's not fooling any of his opponents.
As a fiscal conservative, I'm excited for what Trump can do for our economy, but if he's going to lie to us at every corner and turn around to punish the press for telling the truth, then we might as well be living in 1984 where "alternative facts" are reality.
What can we do to combat this? In the very least, refuse to be manipulated. Say it with me. I REFUSE TO BE MANIPULATED! I REFUSE TO BE MANIPULATED! Don't be the Parson who falls in line with everyone else when chocolate rations fall. Be just as Winston, and hold on to the memories of what is true.